Press Release

APEC focuses on MSMEs and the Digital Future


Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) have been a constant focus throughout the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings this year.

Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) have been a constant focus throughout the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings this year.

According to the recent APEC Regional Trends Analysis report, APEC aims to “push for the growth of MSMEs by promoting greater entrepreneurship and innovation, access to financing, development of inclusive business ecosystems, and integration into global value chains”

Director for the APEC Policy Support Unit, Dr Dennis Hew, elaborated on the progress and efforts of the APEC economies towards the MSME sector and the challenges faced by the introduction of new technology.

“I think one of the challenges we find, particularly now with all the new technology and in the digital age, the MSMEs don’t have the resources, the training or the expertise to be able to fully benefit from it, in terms of access to global markets”

“So this is a great opportunity, whether it’s through trade policy or through APEC, to see whether there are opportunities for training, or sharing of knowledge, and to see how they (MSMEs) can benefit” said Hew.

“Again, there’s been a fair amount of work done in APEC, there’s the Boracay Action Agenda, to support Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, which they started in the Philippines in 2015”

Dr Hew also stated that “every year you can see that there’s always something in the agenda, they’re looking at different angles of the agenda to support them, whether it’s through getting access to digital technologies or greater participation in e-commerce…”

At the 24th Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT) meeting, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Hon. Rimbink Pato also addressed the ongoing focus towards MSMEs throughout the region.

“APEC has progressed much in most areas in connectivity, micro, small and medium enterprises development, and ease of doing business…”

Pato went on to say “the issue of digital trade, e-commerce or e-trade are creating more opportunities for our MSMEs but also present a new set of challenges. We need to find the balance between facilitating free flow of data while protecting consumer data and security.”

Pato also encouraged the APEC Trade Ministers to “work together to better manage these challenges”

Papua New Guinea currently has approximately 45,000 MSMEs and the government is hoping to push that number to over 500,000 by 2030.

In September this year, the Asia-Pacific Business Advisory Council (ABAC) will host a two-day MSME & Innovation Symposium which will see all 21 member economies discuss the future of the MSME sector across the Asia-Pacific region, with a strong focus on the digital future.

Following the symposium, the 47th SME Working Group Meeting will also convene in September in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.